Anthem of the Sea

Anthem of the Sea - Thom  Collins Review originally posted at Sinfully.

This was a very good start to the series about comedian Elijah Mann and singer Daniel Blake, who meet when both are scheduled to entertain on the ship Atlantic Anthem for the last three days of its final European voyage of the season. Both men have had some measure of success, Elijah having appeared on television a while back, and Daniel finding fame after winning a British singing competition. Daniel is at a high-point in his career and working on the ship for personal reasons. He has plenty of fans onboard, including Elijah, but at least two people are less than thrilled that he is there, including resident entertainer Terry St. King, an older, past his prime singer/entertainer, and Oliver Gill, a man who blames Daniel for ruining his career and life.

Elijah and Daniel are each fans of the other and the two are instantly smitten. The spark of lust ignites quickly and the two become inseparable. They are each hot for the other and are also perfectly suited outside of the bedroom. Both are just all around nice guys. Oliver is another story. Already at a low point in life he blames everyone and everything for his failed career, except himself. Daniel’s appearance seems to fuel Oliver’s downward spiral and delusions. Put plainly, he is a vile human being and his disregard for everyone and anyone in his path is truly frightening.

As Elijah and Daniel try to make the most of every moment they have onboard, they begin to fall hard and quickly. It’s not really instalove, but they each feel that possibility and that there should be more than just a three day shipboard romance. I completely fell for them. They are sweet together and had great chemistry. The only thing I didn’t like – and this is a pet peeve for me in any romance – is that their first kiss was off page. Not only that, they both waxed on about it afterwards, about how perfect it was. I really didn’t want to be told that, I wanted to see it.

Aside from the romance, is the story of showbiz jealousy and misplaced grudges. Terry St. King has strong feelings about Daniel and makes them known. Oliver, however, is coming unhinged and has a different view of the past than Daniel. The two men’s careers have played out in similar venues, with very different results and Oliver is ready to get back at Daniel. Once he sets that plan in motion, anyone who crosses his path is at risk.

There are a lot of POVs in this story. I counted six. The main ones are from Daniel, Elijah and Oliver, and some of the others were as brief as a few paragraphs, merely reinforcing perceptions of a certain character. I didn’t find all of them necessary to the story, but it didn’t take away from the narrative or pacing.

The climax, set as the ship sails through a storm, worked great. With a delusional, killer who is seemingly becoming madder by the moment, a ship rocking and listing and a search for a missing crew member, the tension was high. I sped through that portion of the story just to see how it would all play out.

I really enjoyed Anthem of the Sea and thought the romance and suspense storylines were well balanced. Thom Collins is a new-to-me author and I’ll definitely be grabbing the next book in this expected trilogy when it comes out. This installment ends with a strong HFN and works as a standalone with no cliffhanger, but it does drop a hint or two as to what’s in store for Daniel and Elijah as their on-ship romance moves onto land.